Careers within Theatre & Drama typically involve performance, backstage work and production/ management.
A degree in drama won't automatically guarantee you a place in the limelight, but it has certainly helped some household names, including Dame Judi Dench, who graduated with first-class honours in the subject.
Even for those who don't make it on to the stage or big screen, a drama degree can open doors to equally rewarding roles, such as being an arts consultant, set designer or visual artist.
The number and range of people who work in a theatre depends upon its size and type. Today, theatres can generally be divided into two types: a producing theatre or a presenting theatre, but some do both.
Producing theatres have creative teams who develop productions. They include artistic directors, designers of sets, props, costume, lighting and audio-visual media, as well as musical directors and choreographers. Additional specialists are brought in when needed. In these theatres the performers are auditioned and rehearse under the artistic director.
Presenting theatres, sometimes referred to as ‘receiving houses’, host visiting companies whose productions have been developed elsewhere.
Both will have a core body of specialist staff, some with operational roles; others directly involved in presenting a show. A theatre will typically have a range of job roles (depending on their size) including:
Increasingly, the vast majority of entrants to professional career areas within Drama, Theatre and Performance have gained industry specific work experience beforehand. In recent years, there has been a large increase in the number of individuals completing industry recognised courses accredited by organisations such as The Conference of Drama Schools/Stage Management Association/Council for Dance Education & Training. The majority of these courses have opportunities for industry specific work experience placements.
While drama school allows students to hone their acting technique, a drama degree takes a more theoretical approach, covering topics such as script-writing and theatre design, giving graduates a thorough grounding in the subject and widening their career options in a highly competitive field.
Although it is possible to break into many entry level roles within Drama, Theatre and Production without industry recognised qualifications, in reality this is becoming far less common. Those that are successful have substantial work experience and in many cases are recommended through “word of mouth”.